Using racial typecasting, dramatic words were used by Red Bull’s Dr Helmut Marko in the German media recently & Perez senior reacts to accusations of an ‘unfair’ situation within the team for his Mexican son who competes against Dutchman Max Verstappen. Antonio Perez claims it is a pure lie.
Few Formula 1 teams have such a clear division of roles as Red Bull. Max Verstappen is the team’s undisputed darling and is expected to win his third drivers’ title this year. Sergio Perez is number two in the hierarchy leading to the calls that the Mexican is merely a ‘wingman’ to Verstappen.
A term most recently and famously coined by Mercedes boss Toto Wolff when describing Lewis Hamilton’s former team mate Valtteri Bottas.
Certainly Perez has indirectly accused the Dutchman of not being treated equally to the two-time World Champion on more than one occasion since being team mates.
After the 2018 Hungarian Grand Prix, Mercedes F1 team boss Wolff hailed Bottas as a “sensational wingman” for fending off the Ferraris as Lewis Hamilton snatched victory at the Hungaroring. A term the Finn found to be ‘hurtful’ and said as much to the media at the time.
With team-mate and race leader Lewis Hamilton’s main title rival Sebastian Vettel trailing behind, the Finn was forced into a defensive role in the second half of the Hungaroring race.
Wolff told Sky that he admired the role Bottas played after holding off Vettel until just a few laps from the end to ensure Hamilton’s victory.
Bottas seemed unimpressed by those comments, as he suggested that there was little to be happy about on an afternoon he wanted to finish much higher than his eventual fifth saying “First of all wingman hurts,” he told TV reporters. “Second of all, I don’t see any positives…[…]”
Bottas suggested he will seek talks with Mercedes following Wolff’s remarks, saying it was too early in the season for him to play a back-up role to championship-leading Hamilton.
Such remarks seem very familiar today?
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Checo’s father Antonio Perez has now at least defended himself against this common assumption that his son is merely Verstappen’s wingman in the battle against Mercedes, Ferrari and Aston Martin.
“That’s a lie, let’s be clear about that!” the 63-year-old rumbled to the Mexican edition of Marca.
For Antonio Pérez, it is quite clear that his son Sergio is on an equal footing in the Austrian-British racing team with champion Max Verstappen, who has been Formula One world champion in each of the last two years.
“It’s a professional team that wants to win with its two drivers. […] There is no favouritism for anyone, it’s all speculation!” clarified Perez senior.
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Perez “should just keep his mouth shut”
In stark contrast to Perez senior came comments from Sergio himself after the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix this year where he claimed the team were being unfair, favouring Max Verstappen.
Perez has been critical of the team’s communication on several occasions, not just in Jeddah.
Formula One pundit Peter Windsor has condemned Sergio Perez’s behaviour following his victory in Jeddah. Despite winning the race, a controversy erupted over the fastest lap, causing tensions within the team. Perez insisted that he was a challenger for Max Verstappen’s title and deserved the same treatment as the Dutchman in terms of priority.
Speaking through his YouTube channel, Windsor said, “I’m absolutely shocked that after that race he started saying, ‘I’m in the running for the World Championship, I need to get the same treatment as Max’.
“I think Red Bull are surprised by that because they imagined he would be just this guy who is very, very quick, very polished in a lot of areas, not as quick as Max overall obviously, who’d be quite happy to be in the second-best car in Formula 1 at this stage of his career and would just keep his mouth shut and get on with it.”
Perez hopes consistency will bring ‘fairness’ back into the dynamic
There is no doubt that Perez will be sticking to his mentality of being a title contender this season. As the RB19 is superior to the rest of the field, the only real competition he will face will be from his team-mate Verstappen, the reigning World Champion.
The big issue remains however; that the pair have had a few incidents on track in terms of strategy, with Verstappen the favourite. Perez hopes that his consistent performances will change this and that the team will look at both drivers objectively and allow them to fight for the title unhindered.
Could this be a real possibility or is there an endemic favouristm toward Verstappen that goes deeper than thinking that Max is simply the better driver?
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Marko with a clear message towards Pérez
That Checo Perez can match Max Verstappen in terms of performance was not in any doubt claims his father Antonio who told the Marca newspaper:
“Red Bull has the two best tigers in the same cage. If they weren’t on the same level, what’s happening now wouldn’t happen.”
But the most recent statements by Red Bull motorsport boss Helmut Marko regarding the team’s internal hierarchy are unlikely to have been read by Antonio Perez in light of this.
The soon-to-be 80-year-old recently said quite unequivocally in Germany’s “Sport Bild” on this very subject:
“Viewed over the whole season with 23 races, Max is the more consistent driver. Checo has his highlights, but unfortunately he also has some bad weekends…”
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Another weekend, another Checo adventure 💪
Watch how the Mexican's charge through the field unfolded at a dramatic #AusGP 🇦🇺#F1 @Lenovo #LenovoF1
— Formula 1 (@F1) April 18, 2023
Markos’s ‘Mexican slur’
For many, in particular of Mexican heritage, could find Marko’s comments somewhat of a ‘slur’. Dismissive of Perez’s attempts to be equal of Max, by casually claiming Perez can’t match his team mate due to his ‘Mexican temperament’.
“If he wants to be a serious title contender, he has to become more consistent.” says Marko,
“That’s just Mexican temperament…”
Perhaps with such an inherent bias within the Red Bull team, Sergio is best off ‘keeping his mouth shut’?
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Perez himself talks about his Latin temperament and how it is emotional.
The entire Latin American community flaunts their “Latin temperament”….
But now it’s racist?
Everything this racist…
How about this… if a specific group can say a word or a term but when someone takes offense when a white person says it… then the person taking offense is the racist.
That person is a racist because he or she is limiting the available speech of s person based on their skin color.